A BMW is apparently the car most Liverpudlians would like to have parked outside their house.

And the research which found this, for a leading car sales website, is pretty timely, as the latest version of the German prestige car-maker’s 5 Series went on sale here in the UK in February.

As might be expected, the manufacturer went overboard to emphasise the new tech packed into the car, and promoted the new car to the press with flowery language such as: “We see technological leadership, emotionally rich products and digitalisation as essential factors in achieving success.”

But outside of BMW HQ in Munich, and particularly here in Liverpool, we think it’s fair to say that such words don’t wash. What matters more to us and our customers is how a car looks, performs, feels to drive and ride in, and serves us well day in, day out.

And more relevant to lots of ‘real world’ customers is that the arrival of the latest version of what’s been a hugely popular car is sure to bring more older models onto the used car market. That’s because lots of buyers who will have had their orders for a new BMW 5 Series placed for some time will be trading up from the previous version.

Those cars will be coming onto the market again before you know it, and will represent a tempting buy for lots of people who like the idea of driving a BMW 5 Series, but can’t stretch to a new one.

With 7.9 million sales clocked up during its previous five generations, it’s fair to say that the BMW 5 Series has gained fans right across the picture, and most people would easily recognise one - and be suitably impressed.

So it’s no surprise that the 5 Series, along with the BMW 3 Series and BMW 1 Series, all made it into the top 10 list of most searched-for cars in Liverpool during a single month spotlighted by the firm which did the research.

Also not far behind was the BMW X5 SUV, and another product owned by the German company - but one which is proudly still built here in the UK, the MINI (the company insists that we write it all in capitals these days…).

But it’s the best-selling 5 Series which we’re concerned with here, and in the light of the findings about the car’s popularity here on Merseyside, we’re going to offer you some choice tips to steer you through the jungle of choice out there, and towards a quality used BMW 5 Series which you can trust and enjoy.

And that’s not as easy as you might think. So we’re going to list a number of things we think you should look out for when you’re working your way through the maze of choice that’s out there.

First, Find Your 5…

With a good selection of quality examples of used BMW 5 in Liverpool always available, Motor Range’s site on Dunnings Bridge Road is the place to start.

Next though, you need to know what the motoring experts have to say about what they think you should look out for when seeking out the right used BMW 5 Series. So again, to help you out, we’ve gone through the mass of reviews and advice available online and picked out what we think is the most useful - and we’ve highlighted it below.

Leading The Market

The newest 5 Series has been praised for setting new standards in the executive car market at the time of its release in 2017. And just to prove that history has a habit of repeating itself, motoring critics said pretty much the same about the previous generation, on its release in 2010. And because this is the model which is now most common on the used car market, it’s the one we’re focusing on here.

Honest John, whose team know used cars from top to bottom, certainly aren’t sparing in their praise for the previous-generation BMW 5 Series. Their summary of the model says: “There's no shortage of high-quality executive saloons, but none can match the quality of the BMW 5 Series. It manages to blend limousine-like luxury with one of the highest quality interiors seen on any mainstream car, along with unmatched refinement and some of the most remarkably efficient engines available.”

What BMW has become a top player for is filtering features down its range which first appear in its top models. So you can find plenty of gadgets, gizmos and features designed to pamper you in most used BMW 5 Series cars.

So every 5 Series from the 2010 to 2017 model range comes with full leather seats all round, along with Bluetooth so that you can always hook up your smartphone to allow you to take calls legally (i.e. completely hands-free).

The Honest John guys certainly don’t hold back in their praise: “It’s as close as you'll come to a faultless car,” they reckon.

Get Your Specs On

This version of the BMW 5 Series came with a choice of three diesel and four petrol engines, and unlike some other manufacturers, the German company helps us by denoting which one is fitted to its cars by adjusting the exact model number. So, for example, a BMW 520d is fitted with a 2.0-litre diesel engine, and a BMW 523i is powered by a 2.3-litre fuel-injected petrol lump. The 520d is also particularly popular because it’s the starting point in the range for full air conditioning as standard.

This was also the BMW model which pioneered the use of a form of parking sensors, and a form of laser guidance which could point the driver towards the nearest right-sized parking space. Once a space had been located, the driver could take their hands off the wheel and instead just control it using the brake and accelerator pedals, and the car would manoeuvre into the space.

Other features which found their way onto the 5 Series for the first time included four-wheel Integral Active Steering, which gave the car a 0.5-metre smaller turning circle. Meanwhile, the Surround View system uses cameras in the side mirrors and the front wheel arches in conjunction with Park Distance Control and the optional Reversing Assist camera to provide a 360-degree view on the iDrive display for perfect parking.

The list of optional driver safety features was certainly long, and included night vision with pedestrian recognition, lane departure warning and speed limit notifications.

Four different optional equipment packages were also on offer. These were BMW Business Advanced Media and BMW Professional Multimedia, which included BMW Navigation, BMW ConnectedDrive – Assist and Online and Voice control. The Dynamic package includes 19-inch alloy wheels, sport seats, anthracite headlining, sport leather steering wheel and high-gloss exterior trim. Finally, the Visibility package includes adaptive xenon headlights, high-beam assist and headlight washers.

An M Sport model, and the most powerful diesel model, the 535d, whose engine puts out 299bhp, were soon added to the range. Eventually, no fewer than 11 different engines were offered with the 5 Series, with all saloon and touring (estate) models being fitted with standard Drive Performance Control. This lets the driver fine-tune the ride and handling selecting either Comfort, Sport or Sport+ settings.

Another feature on which BMW led, but which has become more common recently, is the ability to open the boot, or tailgate on Touring versions hands-free, by waving your foot under the back bumper.

With a facelift which came along in mid-2013, the 184hp 2.0-litre diesel engine in the 5 Series Saloon saw its CO2 emissions reduced to 119g/km for both manual and automatic transmissions, while all diesel versions were tweaked to enable them to meet EU6 emissions targets.

What To Watch Out For

When you find a used BMW 5 Series for sale - which isn’t that difficult given its popularity - the same rules apply to help you ensure that you buy wisely as do for any other car. So you should always buy from someone you trust, and be sure that they will:

- let you examine the car thoroughly

- have all the paperwork and service records

- offer you an accompanied test drive when they’ll talk through the car’s major functions - and importantly, sound as though they know what they’re talking about - and

- give you the chance to take as long as you need to decide on the right car for you.

Trim levels are Standard, SE, Sport, M Sport, along with Business Edition variants of the SE and M Sport.

The list of what’s included with which model is far too long for an article like this, but you can see full details of the standard equipment for each trim level here.

Given that a used BMW 5 Series can be such an inviting and enjoyable place to spend time, we’d certainly advise that you should take careful note of how the inside has been looked after. If you find a carefully maintained example, it’ll certainly take the driving and travelling pleasure up a few notches. Specific areas to look at include:

What to Look Out For When Buying a Used BMW 5 Series

  • rubber on the foot pedals. If the pattern has almost completely worn away, this can be a sign of a car which has been abused.

  • the condition of the exposed paintwork in the boot. Yes, a used BMW 5 Series will, at some point in its life, have almost certainly been used to carry all the luggage needed for a family holiday, and quite likely, a sales rep’s full battery of sample cases and boxes. But generally, if the paint on the inside of the boot is in a far worse state than on the outside of the car, this might suggest a lot of hard use.

  • a used BMW 5 Series is renowned for being heavy on its brakes and suspension system. You can visually check the brakes through the gaps in the alloy wheels on many models, so this is well worth taking the time to do.

  • whether the car you’re interested in was subject to a recall. The most serious of these involved the replacement of four engine bolts, which could loosen and cause oil to leak into a sensitive area, resulting in an engine management light coming on. Affected cars were all built before November 2011.

  • if you’re looking at a used BMW 5 Series diesel, keep an ear open for a rattling noise when you start it up. This could be a sign of a worn timing chain, which could first stretch, and then eventually snap. The siting of the timing chain at the back of the engine makes this an expensive repair job, as it isn’t easy to get at to replace.

  • The bigger the wheels on a car, the rougher the ride they’ll give you. So if you’re buying a used BMW 5 Series in the hope that it will prove a relaxed and smooth cruiser, look for one with 18-inch rather than 19-inch wheels - although these are mostly found on the lairy M Sport models. You’ll also save a bit in the longer term on replacement tyre costs.

The BMW 5 Series’ safety systems are what really make it stand out as a used car buy, say the Honest John team, while over at What Car? it’s also rated highly. Here, it’s said to be “brilliant to drive with the right options” and - perhaps surprisingly in the executive car sector - is also praised for its low running costs.

They were particularly keen to point out that variable damper control was a useful option, because “without it the 5 Series can become a little wallowy on undulating country roads, and it doesn’t handle as sharply as you might expect.

“With the adjustable suspension fitted, the 5 Series becomes one of the finest executive cars around, allowing you to choose between a smooth ride and nimble handling at the flick of a switch,” its reviewers said.

Other stand-out features, right across the BMW 5 Series range, praised by What Car? were its “fantastic interior with clear instrumentation and slick buttons and switches, and an entertainment and satellite navigation system with clear, easy to understand menus.”

Running Costs

A used BMW 520d will be the cheapest to tax, at £185 a year, while a 540i or 550i MSport will set you back more than £500 a year. As you might expect, insurance groups sit at the mid- to top end, making it even more important that you take time to shop around for your cover. The cheapest model to insure sits in group 26 (under the new system which divides cars into groups 1 to 50).

Otherwise, many used BMW 5 Series in Liverpool will have surprisingly moderate running costs. That’s especially true if you can find an independent BMW specialist garage to help you with your servicing and maintenance - and there are certainly quite a few of those around.

The most economical model on fuel will be a used BMW 520d. While official figures give it 68 miles to the gallon, you should realistically expect to get about 10mpg less than this. A bigger-engined used BMW 530d will give you about 48mpg, according to What Car?

A petrol-engined BMW 520i has a top official figure of 47mpg - again that’s pretty reasonable for a car of this size.

Make A Used BMW 5 Series Yours

If you’re really tempted to bag yourself a used BMW 5 Series model, you’ll get honest, realistic advice on the right model to choose by coming to Motor Range at our new, prominent site on Dunnings Bridge Road in Bootle.

We’ve been selling used BMWs, along with many other prestige and sought-after car makes, for 20-plus years, and in that time have built up a loyal and dedicated group of happy buyers.

We knew, even before the Echo publicised the poll carried out among buyers, the scale of the popularity of used BMWs. That’s why we never stop in our search for a great selection to offer our customers. You can benefit from our dedication (we love it really) when you’re looking for your next car.

Motor Range is open seven days a week, so once you’ve browsed our website, and hopefully found a used BMW 5 Series which looks as though it could be the one for you, why not come to see us and let us show you more about why you should choose one of these prestigious cars?